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Old 11th November 2009, 10:24   #1
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Default Goodbye to an old friend: Santro XP

After an uneventful 5 Ĺ years of ownership, it is time to bid my Forest Dew Santro goodbye as my new Ford Fiesta 1.6 SXi makes it way in.

I bought the car in April 2004. It was our second car, the first one being an original Santro that we sold before a long onsite trip. The car cost me 4.3L on road at Mangalore. Unfortunately, Mangalore had only a single Hyundai dealer, so all I got for free was the remote locking and the usual floor mats/mudflaps.

I kept the accessories/modifications to a minimum. Initially I had fitted a Sony headunit with a pair of oval Sony speakers at the rear and a couple of tweeters attached to the front sunvisors. The sound quality was average at the front and I was none to happy with it. I later added a pair of cheap Sony speakers in the front to improve the sound. Like many Sony units, the CD unit became increasingly unreliable over time and I switched to a Blaupunkt Hamburg unit last year. This came with AUX input, USB and Bluetooth (only phone not A2DP). Neither me or my wife are real audiophiles, so we have been satisfied with this setup.

The car has been driven very sparingly, having done just 30,000 km during the 5.5 years. I use a two wheeler for regular commute to work, so this has been used mainly on weekend drives. Over half the mileage has happened on long highway trips, the longest being a trip to Karwar that we made last year (around 1200 km). I have got an average fuel consumption of 16 kmpl on these highway drives, with speeds ranging from 80-120 kmph. The best Iíve seen is a mileage of 19.5 kmpl on a trip to Jog Falls. This was without AC and I drove at an average speed of 70-80, just to see how good a mileage I would get. I have not really kept track of the mileage in city, I think it would be around 12 kmpl.

One of the sore points of ownership has been the service. Though the customer service of Hyundai is second to none, the cost is definitely higher than expected, especially compared with Maruti. I have ended up with an average bill of 3000 rupees. Thankfully, Iíve had no major problems on the car, the only major part I replaced was the battery which conked out after 5 years of service. Iíve also been fortunate to not have any accidents big or small. The only notable incident was when a KSRTC bus backed onto me in Ooty, causing a small dent on the right front panel. This cost me a couple of grand to repair.

What I liked
- Seating position, high and comfortable, easy to get in and out
- Extreme reliability, never let me down
- Good storage space in the cabin (glove box, underseat box
- Good ground clearance, very few speedbreakers in Bangalore have got the better of this car
- Good low end power aided by short gearing makes it very suitable for city use
- Extremely light steering a boon for city use
What I disliked
- Inadequate power for highway, difficult to maintain a high average speed
- Ride is bumpy
- Handling above 100, not confidence inspiring
- Lack of safety equipment (ABS, airbags)
- Boot space on the small side
- Mileage on the lower side for a small car
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Old 11th November 2009, 17:38   #2
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Nice write-up. Yes the Santro is a reliable and comfortable car to use. I had one for around 5.5 years too, it was the first of the Santros with most parts fully imported from Korea (1999). When I sold her after doing 62,000 km, she still had the original tyres, which were capable of another couple of thousand kms still. The car aged well, and many of your feelings are mirrored by me.
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Old 12th November 2009, 12:25   #3
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Very well written review which sums up your ownership experience. Car guys like us always get attached to the machines we own and you are no different. The Santro came as a breath of fresh air when it was launched in '98 . Customers finally got a new choice in a market which was dominated by the Maruti hatches and eventually prompted them to up their game. The Santro Xing which came in later only made things better.

Though I dont own a Santro, I have driven quite a few that are owned by friends and agree with the points you have mentioned. The Santro is strictly a city car and like you said, triple digit speeds on the highway can get scary. FE is another area where I have heard owners complaining about single digit figures in the city.

Hyundai has done well by offering excellent service levels and are surely on par with Maruti if not better. Service costs aside can you tell us more about the whole Hyundai service experience over the years?

Hope you long time pal finds a good home who will look after it just the way you did. On a another note, Welcome to your new Fiesta 1.6, a true driver's car.
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Old 13th November 2009, 06:54   #4
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I own one for the last 4 years. As everyone would agree a boon for driving within the city. But as far as FE is concerned inside the city I used to get 12.5 - 13 kmpl.

Highway drive, yes we cant afford to risk its handling strength above 110 plus. But I have used it that way not to floor the accelerator and avoid sharp turns.
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